What is Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)?
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are not currently a formal diagnostic category, however it is widely in use, both clinical practice and in the professional literature, as a descriptive term which refers to three of the disorders classified within the PDD diagnostic category of the DSM IV-TR (Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).
PDD-NOS is considered a spectrum disorder, but not every adult shows the same signs. The two main characteristics of the disorder are difficulties with social interaction skills and communication.
Adults with PDD-NOS have impacts to their social functioning due to difficulty reading facial expressions and relating to feelings of others. They do not know how to respond when someone is laughing or crying. Literal thinking is also characteristic of PDD-NOS. They are unable to understand figurative speech and sarcasm.
Inhibited communication skills are a sign of PDD-NOS that begins immediately after birth. As an infant, they will not babble, and as they age, they do not speak when age appropriate. Once verbal communication begins, their vocabulary is often limited. Some characteristics of language-based patterns are: repetitive or rigid language, narrow interests, uneven language development, and poor nonverbal communication.
The prevalence of the use of ASD as a descriptive term appears to reflect the current perspective of those working within this field, that these disorders may reflect varying diagnostic positions, and presentations, along a continuum of complexity that nonetheless share core areas of impairment.
This perspective is particularly significant when considering that two individuals with the same diagnosis of, for example, Autistic Disorder, can present very differently in terms of the severity and complexity of their symptomatology and the ways in which these impairments impact upon their daily functioning and ongoing developmental achievements.
While ASD and PDD are often used interchangeably in everyday practice, PDD is the appropriate terminology to use when identifying a formal diagnostic category, until the DSM-V (link to blog article on same from 6/2/11- same for NVLD & PDD-NOS pages) is published in 2013, at which time Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) will become a new diagnostic category in its own right. Asperger’s, Nonverbal Learning Disorders, and PDD-NOS are to be either folded into the new ASD category or are not recognized as separate and distinct conditions.
How is LDI a good program for young adults with PDD-NOS?
Since 1982, the Life Development Institute (LDI), a private community-based organization located in Glendale, Arizona, has served thousands of older adolescents and young adults from around the world struggling with PDD-NOS, Asperger’s syndrome, learning disabilities, ADHD, Nonverbal learning disorders or related conditions overcome the often demoralizing effects of years of school, social, and personal achievement failures by providing them the instruction, “real world” experience and practical tools needed to lead meaningful, productive and independent lives.
Using a strength-based (non-disability) approach, LDI’s evidence-based, peer-validated pragmatic model is designed to address the specific developmental, academic and career needs of this under-prepared students that are 17 years of age and older through several levels in their transition to independent and self-supported living – from earning a high school diploma, starting college to achieving careers through employment that is compatible with their unique capabilities.
The program focuses its classroom instruction on achieving mastery of specific, major adult life demands in the areas of career planning, social/emotional maturity, establishing independence & competitive job development/placement.
The identification of specific major life demands in LDI’s curriculum are based on the behaviors that any individual- disabled or not- will need for personal success in their home communities. They represent the responsibilities typically encountered by most adults in everyday life such as starting/sustaining/completing a major life activity, completing school, being able to support oneself, engaging in a career, making informed decisions, and having healthy adult relationships.
LDI is part of the community, not an “island’. It provides a supportive campus, inclusive residential community, and access to institutions of higher learning that provides the education, skills and training needed to live independently.The usual limitation of similar residential or boarding school situations is that they are “sheltered” or “clinical” in their orientation whereas our setting is an actual apartment complex-not a dormitory, institutional setting, or group home.
The Institute is authorized to enroll and provide M-1 visas for nonimmigrant foreign students by the Department of Homeland Security , is fully accredited through the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation & School Improvement, multi-agency vendor approval & private party paid.
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